What do you see?

Verplanke, Klaas. Magritte’s Apple. New York: The Museum Of Modern Art, 2016.
Each artist has a unique vision of the world. René Magritte’s vision was a fantastical world of floating boulders and ships made of water. This gentle picture book humorously introduces readers to Magritte’s surrealist style. The full-page illustrations inspire wonder and encourage reflection. The historical notes at the end provide background information. Useful as an introduction to surrealism or a discussion on creativity.

More about surrealism HERE.

More books on artists HERE.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

On the road…

Engle, Margarita. All the Way to Havana. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
A young boy and his parents take a road trip to Havana to help celebrate the birth of a new cousin. The family’s journey in their 1954 baby blue Chevy is colourfully illustrated by Mike Curato in this picture book recommended for readers 7 years old and up. [Automobiles; Celebrations; Cuba; Family life; Voyages and travels] 

Find more stories set in Cuba HERE.

Paris!

Take a trip to Paris
with these picture books!

Brunhoff, Laurent de. Babar’s Guide to Paris. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Babar advises his daughter Isabelle on all the sights to see on her travels to the famed city of Paris. A lovely travel guide for younger readers! [Elephants; Paris (France); Voyages and travels]

Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in Paris. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 

“When Dodsworth and the duck vacation in Paris, they have a grand time despite running out of money and accidentally riding their bicycles in the Tour de France.” – CIP. A cheerful and informative picture book for readers 7-years-old and up. [Ducks; Paris (France); Voyages and travels] 

Kraulis, Julie. An Armadillo in Paris. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2014. 

“Arlo feels it. The twitch in his left claw. The twitch that only stops when adventure begins…”  So starts this story of Arlo’s trip to Paris using the journal left to him by his grandfather Augustin. Arlo whizzes around the Arc de Triomphe, eats croissants in a cafe, visits the Louvre, watches boats pass underneath the bridges along the Seine, visits the Luxembourg Gardens, and gazes in wonder at the Eiffel Tower. The book’s illustrations – in oils and graphite – bring whimsical delight to a picture book recommended for children ready for an adventure of their own even if it is only in their imagination. 

 

Rubbino, Salvatore. A Walk in Paris. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014. 

An illustrated guide sure to appeal to readers young and old.

Find more stories set in Europe HERE.

 

Follow me…

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Trouble the Water. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016.

An old yellow dog brings Cassie and Wendell – a black girl and a white boy – together in racially segregated Kentucky in 1953. Buddy leads them to a ramshackle cabin in the woods where two invisible boys are waiting to cross the nearby river. Partly historical fiction, partly a ghost story, this memorable novel by a thought-provoking writer is highly recommended for readers 10 to 15 years old.

More stories of African Americans

More historical novels

More dog stories

More stories set all over the U.S.A.

P.S. Do you know the story of how Jesus healed the sick man by the pool of Bethesda? The man who never got to the pool in time to be healed after an angel ‘troubled the water’? You might like to read about it in John 5 after you read Dowell’s story. Then you might like to think about the Pharisees in the Bible and the townspeople in the story. And think about that pool at the end of the novel. Might you be called to be an angel?

Are you still there?

Barnett, Mac. The Skunk. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2015.
Why does that skunk keep following me? How will I get away? Wait a minute! What will happen if I follow it?
This humorous story – written by a best-selling author and illustrated by award-winning Patrick McDonnell – has analogies to real life that will appeal to observant readers. The straight-forward text and the elegantly simple pictures combine to create a picture book for all ages.

More humorous stories

More philosophical stories

P.S. Observant readers may want to analyze the use of colour in this sophisticated story.

A story of kindness

Spirin, Gennady. Martha. New York: Philomel Books, 2005.
This is the story of an injured bird who was rescued by a young boy on a cold snowy day. She could have died but instead she was given a home. And one day she was ready to fly again. The beautiful flow of the sentences in this story and the exquisite watercolour illustrations create a sense of timelessness. A sense that the story happened in the past but is still living on in the memories of the people who rescued the bird that could not fly.
This true story set in Moscow tells how Martha the crow became part of the author’s family for a brief time long ago. Highly recommended as a book to buy for animal lovers of all ages. 

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

More picture book memoirs HERE

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Surviving the winter…

Kerr, Philip. The Winter Horses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Kalinka, a Jewish orphan girl, hides from Nazi soldiers during the winter of 1941. On the wind-blown plains of the Ukraine, she meets an elderly man and two wild horses who help her flee from danger. This fascinating story of the rare Przewalski horses will intrigue readers who enjoy historical fiction. While the novel is somewhat awkwardly written – as if the author is explaining the story rather than letting it come to life – it nevertheless provides a unique perspective on World War 2 and so is recommended for readers 11 to 16 years of age.

More stories of World War 2

More winter stories